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Knowing Your California Criminal History

In our last post, we discussed the definition of a criminal record and the importance of understanding a criminal record when it comes to entering a plea.

Today we are discussing the importance of knowing your criminal record history. Jail will pass, but your record will haunt you for the rest of your life. Here is how to obtain your criminal history, so you know what you’re working with.

Order of Judgment

Your criminal record is contained in the court papers you received when you were convicted. If you did not keep this paperwork, visit the superior court in the county in which you were convicted. You can obtain these documents by asking for a copy of your order of judgment.

Your order of judgment will only contain information for convictions from that particular county, not other counties in which you may have also been convicted. You must obtain an order of judgment from the superior court for each county in which you were convicted in order to have your complete criminal history records.

Record of Arrests and Prosecutions

You can also obtain your Record of Arrests and Prosecutions (RAP) sheet from the California DOJ by going to an authorized Livescan provider. You will submit your fingerprints, complete a form, and pay a fee (generally $25 for processing and $25 for the finger printing). You can learn more from the Office of the Attorney General.

We suggest using a private Livescan rather than going to the local police or sheriff’s office to avoid any unwelcome arrests for unknown outstanding warrants.

There may be arrests or convictions on your record that do not appear on your RAP sheet or vice versa.

Who else can access your criminal record?

Three main entities store criminal history records. All non-traffic criminal history is maintained by the California Department of Justice (DOJ). The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) keeps records of traffic offenses, including DUI arrests and convictions. And the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintains records of federal offenses and offenses committed in other states.

If you have a criminal record in California and want to know your options, contact me at (530) 823-5400 for a free consultation.